June 7, 1905

CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

I do not think my hon. friend is exactly right. I never heard that Cormaek and his associates discovered gold on Bonanza creek through any previous discovery on that creek by Henderson; but they were drawn to Bonanza by the fact that Henderson had made the discovery at Oold Bottom and it was on their return from Gold Bottom to Dawson that they made this discovery. The credit, however, is still due to Henderson of having made the first discovery of gold, although he did not find it in any such quantities as the Indians and Cormaek did. We would be derelict to our duty if we did not do something to secure in his lifetime that man Henderson in comfort. In the state of California, I [DOT]am told vou will find everywhere monuments to "Marshall who discovered gold

there in 1S49. We are now only at the beginning of the great gold output in the YYikon ; and while the Dominion government has very properly provided for Mr. Henderson by giving him a position there, the Yukon Territory must sooner or later, in some more substantial way, repay him for the great discovery he made In 1896. This territory, which I have the honour to represent, is producing more wealth to-day per head than any other section of the civilized globe. But here and throughout this country, men have formed ideas with regard to the climate there, which are entirely at variance with the facts. So much is this the case that I feel bound to refer briefly to the climate of the Yukon so as to dispel if possible some of these false impressions, and also because I am convinced that we have a country there m which profitable business will be done and gold produced for hundreds of years. My hon. friend1 the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) very kindly entered into the spirit iD which I spoke to him of the agricultural fertility of that region, and he, sent out this spring some seeds for fodder parti-eularly, as well as some roots, so that we might do a little experimenting this summer and see if we cannot raise some of the fodder and other things which we are now importing at great expense. Hay and oats, when I left the Yukon, were selling at six cents per pound or $120 per ton, and they fetch nearly these same prices throughout tne entire year. To show you that the request I made to the Minister of Agriculture to send seeds to the Yukon was a very reasonable one, I shall briefly refer to the report of Mr John Macoun, assistant director and naturalist of the Geological Survey, who gave evidence before the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture and Colonization in 1903. Mr. Macoun said :

What an official visit to the Yukon revealed.

Last year our acting director, by direction of the Minister of the Interior, suggested that I should go and examine the Yukon country for the government, and I went. I would not go from here until late in June, for the reason 'that I had been in northern countries, and I told our director : I am only going to waste my time by going so early, for nothing can be growing.' I did not leave until the latter part of June, and I reached Dawson on the 10th July last year.

Mr. Macoun had previously said that Dawson is over 20 degrees north of Ottawa.

When I reached there I found red currants, blueberries and strawberries perfectly ripe on the hillsides on the 10th of July. Well, of course I was more than astonished. There is a rose that grows there that we know as rosa acicularis, and on the 3rd of June last year I found it with the first flower expanded at Aylmer, Quebec, nine miles from Ottawa. It happened that Mr. Tyrrell's brother, James Tyrrell, was out on the hillside at Dawson on the 2nd of June, and he found the same species in flower there, one day earlier than it was

here. To me it was an enlightenment. I had gone there with preconceived opinions of what I had heard, and this was a revelation indeed. I want to show you gentlemen what the flowering of that rose here and at Dawson meant. The same amount of heat had to be poured down on both districts to produce like results. "When I reached the country I found the rose hips red and getting ripe when I thought they would be only starting to bloom. That gave me something to think about, and I turned to Mr. Tyrrell and said : ' Mr. Tyrrell, what is

the cause of this flower blooming earlier here than in Ottawa ? ' Here is his answer. He said : ' Mr. Macoun, it is the long day and the great jamo/unt of sunlight.' X said : ' You, Mr. Tyrrell, were up at Chesterfield Inlet, on Hudson bay, and found plants that indicate perpetual frost, and still you were not as far north as here. If it was the sunlight, why does it not at Chesterfield Inlet as it does here ' You see, the matter was simple. I was not going to accept this man's dictum or that man's dictum ; I knew that for every effect there was a cause. Let me go back to the coast now, and we will see what I am talking about. On the coast from below Wrangel, that is down near the border of British Columbia. the great glaciers come down from the mountains to the sea, and as you go up Lynn canal the mountains come down to the sea, and you will see the glaciers starting at the mountain summits and coming down to the sea, and actually flowing into it. If you look at the map you will see that all the coast range from Wrangel northward is very high, and in all the bays and inlets there is much ice, and glaciers of immense size enter the sea. There is a great tract of country there under great glaciers and partly covered with eternal snow. In this region rise Mount Elias, Mount Logan, Mount Fairweather, rising between 16,000 and 20,000 feet above the sea. WelL the people coming up the coast believe the interior is like that, and from the erroneous opinions "which have prevailed, but here is the remarkable fact, that no glacier ever was at Dawson, that Dawson has never been covered with an ice cap as it has been here, that no one of our geologists has ever discovered glacial action at Dawson or within 200 miles, or I may say within 300 miles, of that place.

The wondrous shelter belt that protects Dawson.

1' stood at Dawson and turned south, and I found by the map that this mass of mountains towering 20,000 i'eet into the air covered with glaciers and constant snow lay between Dawson and the sea. Now, we know that the Pacific in that part and northward is almost constantly covered with fog, and the atmosphere is at the point of precipitation, and as that moisture comes into contact with these mountains, it comes down in snow, causing the glaciers. The air passing over the mountains, relieved of its moisture, descends on the plain in the interior, as a dry warm wind. This is the result of two causes, the want of moisture and friction caused by the descent of the air to the plain. So that if you wish to call it so, the conditions at Dawson are those of a perpetual Chinook in the summer time.

That will be a revelation, I am sure, to non. gentlemen. He goes on with a lengthy report with which I shall not trouble the House except to give a couple of extracts : Mr. THOMPSON.

Spring may be said to open towards the end ot April, the last zero temperature of winter occurring about the 5th of April.

That is better than Ottawa.

May with an average temperature of 44 degrees is by no means unpleasant. The 23rd May is the average date of the last frost in the spring.

I- am sure that is a revelation to hou. gentlemen.

Observations of rain and snow have until the close of last summer been very fragmentary, but it is probable that the summer rainfall near Dawson is usually between 7 and 9 inches, and that the total snowfall of autumn and winter is between 50 and 60 inches. Dawson being situated near the river with high hills or mountains on all sides, is well protected from the winds, and a feature of the town, and indeed of the neighbouring country, is the long periods of calm weather which occur.

l'ou see, Sir, Mr. Macoun was sent specifically for this purpose, so that his report is more valuable than any verbal report could possibly be.

I examined the gardens in the valley of the Klondike and the Yukon, early in July, and found everything growing luxuriantly and wonderfully vigorous. On the 5th August I examined the gardens in the Klondike, and I have that noted in my book for future reference. I found cabbage cut then, that on weighing were found to be from 3 to 5 pounds weight ; these were being sold in the city.

Potatoes had also grown ; in fact everything was growing beyond anything I had ever seen here.

Speaking of wheat, he said :

I took a couple of heads and sent them to the experimentalist at the Government farm here who has charge of the seed germinating process, and he sent me the report that he had planted one hundred grains. The whole hundred grains grew and made a remarkably vigorous growth ; in other words there was not a weak seed in the lot, and there "was not a failure, and what was more they vegetated very quickly.

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Mr. POSTER@

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is there any way of knowing when these two cold days come ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

No, but I can tell nay-lion. friend that he may toe cock sure they will come. But when they do come, it is not half as cold there as it is here with the same temperature, because there we have practically no moisture in the air, and it is not much colder at 60 degrees there than it is at 45 degrees here, so far as human endurance goes.

Agriculture is the chief occupation, and cattle breeding. In 1897 they had 243 thousand horses, 549 thousand cattle and 419 thousand sheep. Government has, from 150 to 200 factories of woollen and linen fabrics, soap, leather, candles, glass, iron foundries, brick kilns, distilleries and salt works, and it supports a population which, in 1897, was 1,365,587 souls. Latitude 6165 north. English settled in Vologda in sixteenth century, and it was a great centre of trade.

And, Mr. Speaker, that province of Vologda, in northern Russia, in practically the same latitude as our Yukon territory, has to-day a population of 1,161,000 souls, and if a province can do that in Russia our province can successfully do it in Canada. He makes one practical remark here :

To-day it may well be characterized by the term which has been employed in connection with the Mackenzie basin, a portion of ' Canada's great reserve.'

I will not trouble the House with an-more from Dr. Dawson, but his opinion i: concurred in toy Professor Macoun. But want to refer to one paragraph used by an other gentleman, just as competent t< speak upon the climatic conditions of th. Yukom I refer to Dr. Sturmvt. whose office js in Toronto, and who is the head of tin Meteorological Survey of Canada. H< gives a very fitting answer to those whe have erroneous views with regard to tin v\ intei in the Yukon, for he savs :

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CON
LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT.

Is it cold when you have an election there ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

Yes, we had a memorable election there last December, when it proved extremely cold for some people. We have very little snow there. When I left there on the 15th February, we had about eight inches of snow, and that represented all the snow that fell up to that time. We have no thaws at all in winter.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn your attention to some methods of mining. The great industry in that territory is placer mining, and I would like to refer to the methods used in extracting the gold from the gravels of the Yukon. Gold is found as dust or nuggets. Gold dust ranges from the finest gunpowder up to sawdust, and from that on. It is graded in nuggets that weigh from a few pennyweights up to several ounces. But the great majority of the gold is won in dust, what is called dust, but it is like coarse gunpowder. This gold is found in gravel. This auriferous gravel overlays a very large area of territory. It is covered bv a vegetable sediment which miners call muck, a sort of tolack clay. Beneath the gravel is a bed rock. There are hill gravels and creek gravels; but in a general way you find first of all muck, next gravel, next bed rock. The richer portion of the pay is usually found iii the lower part of' the

gravel overlaying the bed rock. The miner cuts a hole in this muck or black clay, with an axe down to the gravel. Then he piles cordwood over the whole, sets the wood on fire, for this muck and gravel is frozen down to the bed rock. He sets the wood on fire, thaws some of the gravel, hoists it out, puts in another fire, and repeats that operation until he gets to bed. rock. When he gets to bed rock he tunnels by some process east or west, north or south, taking up the gravel by that means. He hoists it up and in winter time, usually piles it in a dump, and leaves it until it thaws in the spring. That was the primitive method used in the Yukon, and it is the method largely used now. There is another method, however, and that is by using steam power. The miner sets up a small boiler and conveys the steam through pipes and rubber tubes to a machine which he calls a ' point ' which he drives into this bank of gravel. He turns on the steam, and thaws the gravel for four or five feet, and is thereby enabled to take out more gravel in a given time than by thawing with wood. He hoists this up with a steam hoist, dumps it by a self-dumper into a dump, which is of a conical shape, and one sees these rise all over the country in the winter time. There is another method used in the summer time, and that is a steam shovel, such as is used in a railway cutting. The shovel raises the gravel and throws it into a washer, where at is put through a series of washings to extract the gold. Still another method is by the use of hydraulic power, where the water is thrown under great pressure against a bank with a force of two or three hundred pounds, dislodging a large quantity of gravel. The methods of washing the gold are practically the same, that is, it is done in accordance with the laws of gravity. Gold being of greater specific gravity than any other metal, it sin'-'- at almost the point where it is thrown into the sluice box. These sluice boxes are placed along the claim, and a stream of water is poured through them, now the gravel is thrown into the box. and the water rushing through that box carries away the gravel and leaves the gold. That principle Is the one which you will find throughout the whole of the industry, the gold is separated by its own specific gravity. In this sluice box, which is about a foot wide, there are what they call riffles. These are small poles in the bottom of the box between which the gold naturally falls. The large pieces of gravel are run off by the water, the small pieces of gold sink down in the interstices be-ween these poles. To make these riffles they use railway rails, rocks and small round spruce poles. Now you can understand, Mr. Speaker, how important it is that we should have plenty of water in this industry. For the miner, water is a prime essential in the Yukon. Without

water the miner cannot extract the gold in any paying quantity. Wood is also a very important article, and we are having a railway built in there now. and I expect *to see a larger quantity brought in there than has been for two or three years past, because this railway is opening up large tracts of wooded land from which we could not formerly get wood on account of the expense of hauling. I have thought fit to go somewhat into detail in this matter so that hon. members of this House would appreciate the requests I have to make and the explanations to which I may refer to later on. We are a territory and as such we must come to this federal parliament for absolutel5' everything pertaining to our territory and to our one industry. This parliament and this parliament alone can give us the things that we need to foster and encourage this industry of ours.

I wish to refer briefly to some things which we need and to some things -which parliament can give. The first and foremost need, the foundation, in fact of the industry in the future, is a code of mining laws. Up to the present time we have had no laws in the sense that we make laws in this House ; this industry of ours has been governed and guided by regulations which have passed during all the years for laws. These regulations are passed by Order in Council and have the effect of laws passed by parliament except that they are changeable by the same body that made them, the Governor in Council, and not by parliament. I need not tell you how important it is that any industry, if it is to thrive, must have for its foundation a stable set of laws, and I know it has been found difficult to compile these regulations and formulate them into laws. I also am convinced that they are considering this matter, that successive commissioners have considered the matter, but it is still in abeyance, we still have our regulations and we have no laws. To show you that what ,1 am talking about is not a political question but a question far above the plane of politics so far as the Yukon Territory is concerned, I shall refer briefly to the acceptance of my predecessor, the present Senator J. IT. Ross which he sent to his constituents in the Yukon when he ran for Parliament. It will be remembered that Mr. Ross was our commissioner there previous to the time he ran for parliament. He said :

I was engaged in an endeavour to revise and codify not merely the mining laws, but all the laws applicable to the Yukon when my illness interrupted the work.

Unfortunately it did.

I think this work most essential in order that the laws may be fixed, clear and certain. With respect to the mining laws I propose to have them codified and then submitted to representative miners for criticism, alteration and approval in order that they may, as -far as pos-

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Might I ask the hon. gentleman whether it is the circumstance that the regulations are temporary in their nature, made by the Governor in Council or is it the imperfect character of the regulations which is complained of, or both ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

It is really both, but the one thing of all to which we really object is the instability of those laws, the fact that they have prevented from coming to our territory capital that otherwise would have come. You cannot get capital invested in this country or any other country unless you have for that capital a set of sound and just laws.

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Mr. I@

Are these regulations changed with considerable frequency ? Have many changes been- made from time to time in them so that you do not l'eally know what laws to expect in the immediate future ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

In reply to that it is only fair to say that they have not recently been often changed. I do not know that they have recently been changed at all, but in the early days of the camp when the eyes of the world were directed to that spot, when capital sought investment there they were changed and they were changed to the detriment of the territory. Latterly they have not been changed as frequently, I do not know that they have been changed at all, but the fact remains that if you take a Klondike proposition to a capitalist in this or any other country, the first thing he will ask is : What is your title ; have you a

stable title or not ? and whenever he sees the title we have to a placer claim in the Y'ukon he says : I cannot afford to take the risk ; there are other countries, there are situations even in Canada where I can get an investment under a more suitable set of laws. That is the one difficulty. I wish, and the people of the Yukon wish, that these regulations. many of them good, the majority of them good, shall be incorporated in an Act of parliament passed by this House, and thereby become law which cannot be changed except by this House. Then the people of the Yukon will feel that underlying this one great industry of ours we have a stable and just set of laws upon which the future of the country is based, and under which I have no doubt and they have no doubt we shall progress.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Are all those regulations made at Ottawa or are there some of them that are made by the commissioner or assistants in the Yukon itself ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

All these regulations are made here at Ottawa, and before I sit down here I am going to submit that this parliament should give us the right to make our own mining laws. At the present time Mr. THOMPSON.

they are made here in Ottawa. We have no power in the Yukon to make or to change those laws. To show you how jealously this privilege is guarded by other provinces which had the status of provinces previous to their entry into confederation, I shall refer you to the provinces of British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Do you suppose that when British Columbia entered into confederation she would give to the federal parliament one jot or tittle of her right, to make her own mining laws ? Not much. Do you suppose that when Nova Scotia entered confederation she would give this federal government one right, even the smallest right to change her mining laws ? No, Sir. She jealously guarded these for herself, she kept them and she has evolved year after year a system of mining laws which is suitable to her but which might not be suitable to this province or to Ungava or to Mackenzie or to British Columbia. The point is that every province and territory has distinctive conditions which make it imperative that mining laws should be made for that territory or province and for it alone. There may be great principles that underlie the mining business, but in de- , tail the laws must be worked out for each section of the country. This is not a political question with us in the Yukon. Every man in the Yukon, whether Conservative or Liberal, is unanimous upon this question, that these laws should be incorporated finally in an Act of parliament and made unchangeable except by parliament. Previous to their final passage they should be taken to the Yukon and submitted to the people there who were earning their living by taking gold from the ground. They should be submitted to these people and their best opinion with regard to what is best for that territory should be obtained. A few days ago I had the opportunity of speaking here with the premier of Nova Scotia, the Hon. Mr. Murray, upon this question. I knew that in Nova Scotia they have some good mining laws, and I said to him : How did you evolve this system of laws ?

His answer contains exactly the germ of the idea which I have in respect to the people of the Yukon Territory. Speaking in regard to the coal mining industry, which I will take for the purpose of the illustration, he said : It has taken us years to evolve

these laws and to bring them to a condition in which they are satisfactory to the coal miners of Nova Scotia. I said : How did

you do it ? He said : We asked the coal

miners to meet us in convention ; that is to send their representatives to meet us- speaking of the government-and we would send our representatives to meet them, and they would sit at a table and discuss this question, exchange ideas and come to some general understanding which would be incorporated into an Act of the legislature. Now, Mr. Speaker, I submit to you that that is sound, that there is no better method of arriving at the best

ideas to incorporate into a mining code than that very same method and that is what I am asking this government to do-to send a man to the Yukon Territory. Let me say that I have discussed this question with the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier) and he has entered into the spirit of it. X feel that in this matter I have a duty to perform and I wish to discuss this and other questions in the fullest and freest manner. What I want the government to do is to send a man to the Yukon Territory, there to investigate the conditions underlying this industry, who will consult the men producing gold, who will get their ideas, who will consult with the members of the Yukon Council, our legislature there, and from all these sources compile information which he can bring down here and incorporate into a set of laws which will be passed by parliament, which will stand for years to come for the Yukon Territory and which will more than anything else help us to get capital to develop the industries of that country. So much for the mining laws.

Mr. Speaker, there is another question that affects ns and affects us very materially in the Yukon, and that is the export tax on gold. Originally we had1 to pay ten per cent royalty to the Canadian government on every dollar's worth of gold over $5,000 which was produced by any individual in the Yukon Territory. That was an exorbitant tax, so great a tax that there are few industries and few countries in the world which could live under it, and rich and all as was the Yukon, it became in time too great a drain. The government reduced it to five per cent, cut it in two, with the same exemption of $5,000. This went on for some time and then, when my predecessor the Hon. Mr. Boss was commissioner, or shortly after, the royalty was removed and an export tax of 24 per cent was placed on the output with no exemption. Every dollar of gold that is now produced in the Yukon pays 21 cents to the federal government.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTEB.

That is exported.

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

Exported from the Y'ukon ?

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CON
CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

But exported into Canada as it should be and as I am going to show. That is the point ; it must be exported to Canada. Why should we pay duty on gold going into Canada ? How'ever, I will discuss that later on. This export tax is 21 per cent and it covers the whole product. Now, Mr. Speaker, a few' years ago, when we were producing from $20,000,000 to $22,000,000 annually in gold, when the camp was prosperous, 2j cents on every dollar's worth of gold produced was not excessive; the burden was easily borne, and if these conditions existed to-day the people would

not object, but unfortunately, times have somewhat changed. Our output has fallen to $10 000,000 a year and yet an output of $10,000,000 a year is producing more gold and more wealth per head than any industry is producing in any other country in the world. But, I say that this export tax is pressing to-day a little more hardly upon us than it did four or five years ago. We in the Yukon do not object to taxation. We know it is necessary to be taxed in order to keep up our government, but I submit this proposition that in view of what the Yukon has paid to the federal treasury since 1S96, in view of the advantage to Canada of the Yukon to-day in the way of a market it would be wise and expedient for the Canadian government to remit for a term of years this tax of 24 per cent on every dollar of gold taken out. T have asked the Prime Minister to abolish it completely and he says he cannot ; but if you will not abolish it completely, remove it for ten or even five years until the enterprises there begin operating and until our gold output is on the up grade again which it will be in a very few years. At the present moment, although we are producing this $10,000;000 a year, these, comparatively speaking, are lean years, and it is during these lean years that we require relief. Bemove it for three years if you like and it will be an assistance. Last year this tax gave the government $250,000. We produced approximately $10,000,000 in gold. What is a quarter of a million of dollars to a government like ours whose income is $60,000,000 a year and whose income very shortly will toe. $100,000,000 a year, because there is no doubt in my mind that the progress that we have started on in Canada will not stop until the income of the government is away beyond $100,000,000 a year. Here is a territory that is struggling along and while a quarter of a million does not make much difference to the government of the Dominion it makes an enormous difference to the people of the Yukon, and so I ask, that, if this tax cannot be abolished, it be remitted for a term of years or until we get on the up-grade again in the output of gold. What do they in the great republic to the south of us ? Do they tax gold ? No. And remember we are lying side by side w'ith the district of Alaska, the people of which are engaged in the same business we are in, in placer mining, and their government does not put one cent of a tax upon the output of gold. Further than that they give a larger claim in Alaska than we do. The result is that we find that our miners are being drawn off to the district of Alaska where they can get a larger claim and where they can mine their gold without a cent of taxation. You all can understand how that will militate against the progress of the Yukon.

We have very nearly paid our way since 1896. If the Yukon field force charge and

the Mackenzie & Mann charge were taken from the charges against the Yukon up to the end of June, a year ago now-I am speaking from memory and I am not quite sure of the facts-our accounts would very nearly be square. If I remember correctly at that time we had overdrawn, so to speak, or we had cost the federal treasury more than we had paid in $1,200,000. It cost the Dominion government $750,000 to put the Yukon field force there and it cost $450,000 to settle the Mackenzie & Mann hill. Add these together and they make $1,200,000, and I think I am correct when I say that If you remove these two items up to that time we had almost paid our way. It may be asked how the government would be repaid if this tax were removed. Well, they would be repaid in the very best manner possible for Canada ; they would be repaid in trade and commerce. We would have in that country, instead of the few thousand people that we have to-day, with some of these restrictions removed, a large influx of miners. The country would go ahead, we would consume more Canadian products which would be a good thing for Canada, and although the government would not get the direct taxes that are paid today, indirectly, Canadian producers would get larger prices and sell larger quantities of Canadian goods in the Yukon.

If that is not done I have another proposition to make and it is this, and I submit to the people of Canada that it is a reasonable one. My hon. friend (Mr. Foster) asked a moment ago if that was an export tax. Strictly speaking, this tax of 2J per cent on our gold is not an export tax, because the gold should not be exported out of Canada but it should be brought here to Ottawa.

If you will not take the export tax off the gold going out of the territory, then put it on the gold going into the United States, so that all our gold will be retained in Canada, instead of going across the line to build up American cities, as it is doing today. Of the $120,000,000 of gold produced in the Yukon Territory since 1896, I venture to say that not more than $20,000,000 has been left in Canada, while $100,000,000 has gone to the United States. That gold should be kept in this country.

Another obstacle, though rather a small one, to the progress of this work, is the assessment work required on the claims. At the present time a miner has to do $200 worth of work on his claim to keep it for a year. He does not object to that; but in addition he has to pay the government $2 to get from the government official a certificate that the work has been done. This is only a small matter, and yet it retards the industry that much. I would ask the government to let the requirement of $200 of assessment work stand as it is, but to remove this $2 certificate fee ; and if it is necessary to have a certificate, let the gov-Mr. THOMPSON.

ernment official go to the claim and give the miner a certificate there, instead of requiring the miner to come to the government office, as he has to do at the present time, and take two witnesses with him, to have the assessment work recorded.

Before I left the Yukon I called a convention of the miners, and asked them to give me as nearly as possible a statement of some of the more essential things which they thought were required for the Y'ukon, and they did so. It was held at Gold Bottom on the 11th of February, four days before I left. This is one of the things they asked : that the certiefiates of work fees be abolished, and that license fees be reduced to $5. This refers to the abolition of these certificates. The license fee at that time was $7.50. 1 am glad to say that when I submitted this to the Prime Minister, who was Acting Minister of the Interior when I arrived, with other things which I submitted to him in a memorandum, he saw the force of this suggestion, and at once had this fee reduced to $5, something which the people of the Yukon appreciate very much. It was also decided that creek claims should be increased to 500 by 2,000 feet, hillside claims to 500 by 1.000 feet, and all others 500 by 500 feet, with four jjosts. These are larger claims than we have in the Yukon at the present time. We have claims of 250 feet up and down the creek. The gold is usually found in creek bottoms, which are from 50 feet to a quarter of a mile or more in width, and the hillsides adjoining the creeks very often contain deposits of gold. The present creek claim is 250 feet by 2,000, 1,000 feet on each side of the base line. The miners ask that it shall be 500 feet by 2,000 feet, double the size. That may seem, to gentlemen acquainted with placer mining, rather large ; and on a rich creek it would be large. But we have creeks that are not as rich as Eldorado and Bonanza, creeks on which machinery has to be placed before the gold can be extracted ; so that if a man has a claim of only 250 feet, all he has after his operations is his mining machinery and a small bank account, if he is not in debt. If he had 250 feet more, in many instances he would have a comfortable nest egg left. The reference to four posts is to obviate litigation, which has been the curse of that country. Fractional claims have cost that country perhaps more than any other one thing in connection with the delimitation of claims. If a man has to place a post at every corner of his claim, there will be no doubt where the end or side lines are, and a great deal of the litigation of the past will be obviated, I hope, in the future. In regard to leaseholds, it was decided that the present system is good enough, with the addition of the absolute right to renew. This shows that we do not kick at everything. At the present time the gold commissioner, who is the head of our mining court, may

under the regulations, though I do not know that he has ever done it, refuse to a man the right to renew. In the matter of grouping, it was decided that the requirements of representing the groups should be that the representation work must he such as will work to the development of the whole group. The law now allows us to group eight claims and do the work on any one.

I think as a principle that is very good ; but the work done on this one claim should be done with a view to develop as much as possible the whole eight. A miner was considered as entitled to have the right to abandon one claim and resume all rights upon that creek or in that district. That is, if he locates a claim, and finds, after prospecting, that it is no good, he wants to have the privilege of giving that claim back to the government, to whom it -would probably be of more use than to him. The Yukon regulations regarding tailings, tunnelling, drainage. &e., should be amended to include the British Columbia laws of 1901, section 48. I am a layman, so far as -the legal profession is concerned, and I am not prepared to discuss this question from a legal standpoint ; but men who have studied them say that they have good regulations in British Columbia in reference to this, and I think it would be wise to incorporate them in our code. It was decided to adopt the^ Northwest Territories Irrigation Act. Water is the great desideratum in the Yukon. It is necessary to have water and at low cost, to mine'these gfavels. Our water is gradually being pre-empted by speculators applying for water rights. I am not very well acquainted with the Northwest Irrigation Act; but, as I understand it, it is this. Where water is available for irrigation purposes, a man is not given the right to take water from a certain stream to irrigate a certain piece of land, unless he proves to the Minister of the Interior that he is a bona fide investor, that he has the capital to carry out his scheme, and that when it is carried out, it will be not only good for him, but good for the surrounding country. What we really want in the Yukon is to make it impossible for these speculators to get these water rights and hold them.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is that largely done now ?

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

It was done considerably last summer. Of course, it is permitted by law and is perfectly legitimate, and last summer when people saw, as they have been seeing for some years, that water has become very valuable, some speculators covered many of these water rights for a term of years, rendering it impossible for other men, who might toe bona fide investors, to get these water rights, which are becoming of greater value year by year.

(Mr. AMES. By what authority are the water rights issued ? ,

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON.

3y the Gold.Commissioner in Dawson. I am not positive whether they have to he referred to the Minister of the Interior or not, but I do not think so. I think the Gold Commissioner in Dawson has the absolute right to accept or refuse.

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June 7, 1905